Road trip (#sol17 23/31)

We’re on the road to Lexington! Yay! 

This morning was a bit hectic at my house, but we got on the road around 10am. We’re almost into Kentucky and it just started raining. Hopefully it’ll clear up soon. 

We’re going to stop for lunch and then finish up the journey. 

Tonight we’ll get to see the horses that the competitors get to choose from, check out the vendors, and then we’ll find somewhere for dinner. Tomorrow the competition begins. 

I’ll share pictures and updates this weekend but that’s it for today! 


Shetland, My Love (#sol17 22/31)

Yesterday I shared some pictures and highlights from my last trip to Scotland.  Today, I want to share some photos from the Shetland Islands.  It is truly a GORGEOUS place, and if you’re taking a trip to Scotland, you might as well go all the way!

Brace yourself for a LOT of pictures.

You can get to Shetland by plane or by boat, but the boat is much more affordable.  You get on in Aberdeen and travel overnight to Shetland.  We got ourselves that cute little cabin on the left and arrived on a nice foggy morning.  The view coming in is breathtaking but a bit hard to see with fog that thick.


We were visiting during Hamefarin and I was so excited that my husband go to experience it.  One of the best parts is a mini-version of Up Helly Aa, with the men dressed up as vikings carrying torches around Clickimin Loch to burn a galley.   1915657_825347270412_3895965_n37260_825347335282_3305000_n

Shetland ponies are ubiquitous in Shetland, as is expected.  35725_825345798362_1414464_n35705_825347534882_6029731_n34266_825346926102_6971375_n








We explored two different historical sites: Jarlshof and Clickimin Broch.  Jarlshoff is a prehistoric site that has several different ages represented in one site: Bronze Age, Iron Age, Viking Age, and structures from more recent times.  It is so interesting and fun to explore. 37413_825348003942_1146872_nThe views in Shetland are basically unparalleled IMHO.36934_825347055842_7242938_n

Casey and Nate had to take a dip in the Atlantic while we were in Shetland to round out their freezing cold water excursions.35705_825347519912_1066648_n




Did we end up in the Carribean? Nope! That’s Shetland on a gorgeously sunny day.  This view is of St. Ninian’s Isle.34123_825347430092_7026315_n

The views of Lerwick along the water are so cool. It’s like stepping back in history.  See the galley in the water there?34144_825348218512_4477116_n35753_825347200552_8243782_n

We spent some time up at Sumburgh Head–these views are AMAZING.  The wind was blowing so hard though, I really thought I might just blow away.  34349_825347829292_3142547_n

And this sign didn’t make it less frightening. 34091_825347609732_3285016_n

And of course there are Puffins. They are such neat little birds.  I got some excellent pictures of them, if I do say so myself.34280_825347779392_511971_n

Frame worthy, right??34280_825347769412_3244535_n

And lastly, one of my favorite pictures of this calm water in Lerwick.  34144_825348198552_1647116_n

There ya go, a quick tour of Shetland.  I am so serious when I say a trip to Scotland is incomplete without a journey up to the islands.  There is SO much to see. I can’t wait to go back–I have some sites to add to my list that I haven’t seen in the several trips we’ve taken there.  Plus I can’t wait to see my cousins and aunts and uncles and everyone else!

Tomorrow I’m off to Kentucky, so my posts might be kind of short for the next few days.  🙂


Longing for Scotland (#sol17 21/31)

Lately I’ve been really wanting to go to Scotland.  My husband and I went in 2010 and we planned to go back in 2015, but that didn’t happen.  Now my good friend really wants to go with me and I think it would be SO FUN.

But, due to buying a new house, a trip to Michigan in June, and a trip to the Bahamas in July, it won’t be any time soon.

Maybe next summer.  Sigh.

Here are my favorite memories from our last trip told in pictures.

This isIMG_0823 the view from Dunottar Castle, which is pretty much the coolest place I have EVER been.  I mean, check out the view. My cousin took us here because she thought we’d like it, and she was not wrong.





This is the view from the other side of the bajillion steps we had to go down to get to it.  We ate over here and ate our lunch with a view of the castle. In-freaking-credible.


We spent some time in Dunfermline Abbey where Robert the Bruce is remembered. It’s gorgeous inside.


Casey, his best friend and girlfriend and I rented a car and traveled around a bit.  We saw Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness.   Casey and Nate also took a little (COLD) dip in Loch Ness.



We kept driving, but along the way we got a flat tire.  It was a tiny fiasco, but definitely memorable.






Once we got on our way again, we drove threw Glencoe. Oh my gosh, it’s just so gorgeous!


We finished our trip with my mainland cousins in Edinburgh.  Seeing the usual sites and enjoying a gorgeous sunset.


Tomorrow I’ll share my favorite parts of Shetland, where my mom is from, and one of my favorite places ever!  I can’t wait to start planning my next trip to my third “home“.

The vet (#sol17 20/31)

I’m sitting at the vet. I’ve been here for about half an hour now. 

I’m here everyday to pick up G from daycare (insert eye roll) but today he actually needed to be checked out by the vet.  So here I am, waiting to talk to the doc himself. 

While I’ve been here I’ve seen myriad dogs and owners. One little guy with a puffy eye and another coming in with potentially broken legs from a car accident. One little white scruff shaking in her boots and one big pretty Collie putting her nose in everyone’s faces. 

I can’t imagine working here. Between the cuteness overload and absolute anguish that they must see regularly. 

Sidenote: I got to pet the cutest little brindle lab/hound mix. And she was so sweet. Almost makes me want another puppy. 

Ha. Just kidding. 

Okay, I have to go talk to the vet. Fingers crossed it doesn’t cost me a fortune. 

Back in the Saddle (#sol17 19/31)

I finally got back on my horse today.

It’s been forever since I’ve been in the saddle, or at least that’s how it feels.  It’s only been like two or three weeks, but dang I miss it!

The weather was perfect.  Sunny, cool (a little cold in the shade).  Copper was a sweet boy as usual; he even loped nicely in the arena.

I’ve been officially back to riding for about six years now, and I can’t believe I ever took a break.  But I did take a big one.  When I turned sixteen I got busy being a teenager–I could drive, I had a job, I was on the golf team–and my parents were kind of over paying for my 10th birthday present.

So that was it, I just sort of stopped going to the barn.  The activity that had consumed my life and thoughts and time for six years, just faded away.

It’s weird to me to think that I gave it up so easily.

About a year before we moved to Alabama, I started riding again.  Casey hooked me up with a colleague of his who had horses.  She and I rode a few times and were casually making plans for me to show her horses the following summer.  But then we moved to Alabama and riding was put aside once again.

Then about four years later Casey once again had a horse connection.  Another colleague was selling a horse and he asked if I wanted to check it out.  Long story short, I contacted one of my colleagues who I knew had a horse (my now best barn buddy, Judy) for advice.  She invited me to ride with her.

And that was that.  It’s been six years, and besides sometimes taking a month off, I have been back in the saddle consistently every since.

I am so thankful to have a connection with my beautiful Copper.  He’s not perfect, but neither am I.  The two of us have grown so much as a team over the last three years.  It’s been a fun ride; One that I don’t plan on taking another break from!

Might Could (#sol17 18/31)

Yesterday I was helping a student with his essay. He was sitting at my whiteboard table which replaced my desk this year.  I had my expo marker in hand and I was writing his argument.  We needed to reword his premises.  As I started to explain my ideas, I said “you might could change this to …”

And then I stopped.

“Ohmygod I just said ‘might could!'” I exclaimed. Everyone in the room–about five kids who come eat lunch and study or hangout in my room everyday–turned to look at me.  One of them asked me to clarify.  When I tried to explain to him that “might could” was not a thing, he stared at me blankly.

“It sounds right to me,” he said.

I know, that’s the problem, I thought.

This isn’t the first time a Southernism has escaped my lips.  I have fully embraced “y’all”; I say it all the time, but I have mostly avoided the really, really “country” ones as we say down here.

But there was a time when I felt like everyone here sounded like they were speaking a different language.

It was a normal morning in my first Alabama classroom.  There were 9th graders sitting in their desks, working on their essays or reading or something, when an announcement came over the PA:

“If you haven’t had your picture made yet, be sure to go to the theater after lunch. Again, if you need to get your picture made, come to the theater after lunch.”

I stood there for a full minute metaphorically scratching my head and mouthing “get your picture made” with furrowed brows.  The kids sat there staring at their weird Midwestern teacher (who, by the way, they asked to say “taco” and “Dakota” and “Chicago” all the time).

Finally I said, “what?! What does that mean? Are you guys doing an art project or something?”

More staring. More metaphorical head scratching all around.

“Like, why are they making pictures?” I tried to clarify.

The kids tried to explain: “you know, we have to make our pictures for the yearbook.” Why don’t they just take it with a camera like normal, I thought.  Finally one kid said, “Balfour is here so we can get our pictures in the yearbook.”

“Ooooooh, they ARE taking your pictures with cameras” I blurted. Why didn’t they just say that? I thought.

It’s been a long acclimation process, and while I haven’t become a true Southern gentlewoman, I have picked up a few things.

Ten years later, I still don’t say “make pictures” or “cut the lights on”, but I do throw around “bless his/her heart” and “y’all” like I was born here.

Happy slicing, y’all! 😉

St. Paddy’s Day (#sol17 17/31)

My favorite St. Patrick’s Day was spent in Chicago.

The river was green. There were people everywhere. I was with my best friend and several other friends.

I remember seeing the river.  I remember seeing some of the parade. I remember being cold (I hadn’t worn enough layers and the wind found its way through might light jacket).  I remember making our way to the Wrigley Field area.  I remember a couple bars.  I remember green beer for everyone else (and probably red “Dirty Shirleys” for me).  I remember laughing. And laughing, and laughing.

I don’t remember much else though.  That is probably the sign of a good St. Paddy’s Day, right!?!

I would love to repeat that day (minus some of the drinking and forgetting).  I would love to repeat it because I miss my best friend who lives at least twelve hours from me.  Back then we were only three or four hours apart, so a weekend together wasn’t out of the question.  But now, eleven years later, we’re so far apart that it takes planning to get together.  We schedule our phone calls so we can actually catch up.  We only see each other once a year if we’re lucky.

So my favorite March 17th really has very little to do with St. Patrick’s Day and much more to do with spending that day with my best friend, Mo.

Currently (#sol17 16/31)

Thanks Elisabeth Ellington for this idea right when I needed it!

Watching: The Crown (well, I finished it), New Girl, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory, Jane the Virgin, This is Us .   (To be clear, I don’t watch them ALL the time!)

Listening: My Yo Yo Ma and Alasdair Frasier shuffle list on Pandora.

Appreciating: My students.  What an amazing group I have this year.  I actually enjoy every single one of them–even the annoying ones. 😉

Loving: Snuggling with the puppy and dogs when I get home from work. Feeling sore from kickboxing today–finally made it back and it almost killed me!

Drinking: Hot tea with milk and honey.

Wishing: It would warm up and stay that way.

Planning: A trip home to Michigan this summer.  A list of food to take on our trip to Kentucky next weekend.  A to do list for spring cleaning over spring break.

Reading: No books.  What the heck? I started a book, got bored, and I’m trying to find another one.  I am reading a lot of blogs though.  And student syllogisms and thesis sentences for argument essays.

Here’s to finding some inspiration in the next few days!!


The Struggle to Workout (#sol17 15/31)

This week I might finally work out twice.  Ha!

I have been so laaaazy lately.  I just can’t seem to get motivated.  I hate to blame everything on the dog, but he is a big part of the problem.  I can’t go to kickboxing unless my husband’s schedule allows him to pick up the dog. Sometimes when I get home, I can’t get on the treadmill until husband gets home, because who knows what Georgie will be doing (eating the windowsill, for example).

I’m trying really hard to get back to it.  I want my almost abs back from when I was kickboxing twice a week.  I want to feel and see muscles in my arms and legs.

Why is it so hard to get back into a workout routine when you take a break? It doesn’t seem fair.  why does it take so long to build up muscle and lose fat, but almost no time to go the other way?  It kinda sucks, ya know?

So anyway, today I forced myself on to the treadmill soon after I got home.  I did day two of week two of the Couch to 5k app (while watching A Royal Night Out on Netflix).  It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.  Tomorrow I’m forcing myself to kickboxing.

Now to keep it up.  That’s the tough part.

Six Days (#sol17 14/31)

I’m tired. This week is rough. I don’t have much to say today, nor the energy to write it even if I did.

So, I’ll say “yay!” I only have six days of school until I get up early next Thursday, meet my friends, and make the drive to Lexington, Kentucky for the 2017 Road to the Horse Colt Starting Championship.

This year all four competitors are women and one of them rides English.  It’s going to be SO AWESOME!

So, while the next days are going to be rough, I’m just going to be thankful that I’m down to the single digits.

Good luck everyone–we’re almost there!!